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Sir Dagonet's Quest

King Mark came riding, in great despite,
     Seeking Sir Tristram to slay,
And chanced on a merry and courteous knight,
But knew him not for that jesting wight
     Sir Dinadan, brave and gay.

As saddle to saddle they paced along,
     Hoving afar they saw
Horses and knights in a gallant throng
     Under the forest shaw.

Said Dinadan, "Lo! by yon cloth of gold
     Launcelot rides this way!"
And Mark, like a man that shakes with cold,
Said, "Launcelot here? Then I cannot hold
     Longer with you today!"

When Dinadan spied he might scarce abide
     For terror, he cried, "I see
Sir Launcelot's shield! On a silver field
     Three lions and lilies three!"

But he said it to shape a jest and jape,
     That cowardly King to school;
For lions and lilies emblazoned thrice
He wist full well were the new device
     Of Dagonet, Arthur's fool.

Now Mark had turned him about, to slip
     Back, like a snake, for fear;
But Dinadan rode to his fellowship,
     Who made of him passing cheer.

He told them his craft and all agreed;
     So Dagonet, armed to fight,
Adventured his spear and spurred at speed,
Crying, "Ho! ye caitiff of Cornish breed !
     Keep ye, ye craven knight!"

Now out, now in, through thick and through thin,
     Mark fled from that shield aghast;
Through thick and through thin, with dindle and din,
     Sir Dagonet followed fast!

Then the knights chased after, with Ho! and Yield!
     And he ran like a rated hound;
And the cry rose high and the laughter pealed,
Till wood and water and forest and field
     Rang with the noise and sound.